Every now and then, particularly around Christmas, the odd commentator in the British press attempts to deny Israel's responsibility for the demise of Bethlehem and the suffering of its residents, blaming the Palestinians themselves and the media's supposedly inherent desire to demonise Israel. This year, one such person is Michael Gove, a columnist for The Times, writing in the newspaper on 11 December 2007 under the headline "Bethlehem and bigtory."
"The truth is very different," claims Gove, adding that the "parlous position of Palestinian Christians…is a consequence not of Israeli aggression," and that "Israel goes out of its way to honour sites and traditions sacred to other faiths."
He is either woefully ignorant of the situation, or wilfully deceiving his readers. Either way, it is evident that he has neither the knowledge nor authority to speak for Bethlehem's residents or Palestinian Christians, who would vehemently disagree with him. As such, AMW recommends that Gove and his ilk visit Bethlehem, speak to Palestinian Christians, and brush up on relevant, authoritative human rights reports.